Today, thousands of youth across Canada will don pink in support of Anti-Bullying Day. Together they will express their shared view and in doing so, condemn the abuse that is bullying. But what are they really condemning? And more importantly, what do schools want to replace it with? To answer these questions, another look needs to be given to what bullying is.
In an adult world brimming with alienation, arrogance, and animosity, it is not difficult to imagine these sentiments overflowing into the world of adolescence. As is our nature, it seems, our eye is drawn to negativity. It is the unsightly things in our lives that get the most attention. And curiously enough, these things are most often our faults, but more harmfully, the faults of others. These faults have infected the realm of adults, and have left them in a state or perpetuation. Set in their ways, adulthood appears to be a constant debate over whose faults are worse.
What bullying is, is an attempted mimicry of this. This negative view on life has spilled into the innocence that was youth. The optimism that characterized the young has become tainted, and with this corruption, a downward spiral has begun.
Youth are imitating what they know. Because they have been surrounded by bickering their whole lives, it naturally — or arguably unnaturally — falls into a pattern of sorts. Bullying, or abusive acts in general, are copied behaviors. The negative examples that have been set have taken over the spotlight, and consequently, the lives of youth internationally.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
Youth does not have to mimic adulthood; youth can set its own example. Thanks to the impressionability of adolescence, the foundation can be righted before it is set. Rather than in cynicism, the grounding can be set in collaboration, altruism, and equality.
In an ideal world, positiveness is the standard. Instead of differences, similarities are focused upon. Instead of bad qualities, good qualities are emphasized. Instead of division, cooperation is the norm. In an ideal world, the problem of bullying would not exist.
Pink Shirt Day will mean something a little bit different for everybody. For some it will be a bitter day, where bullying is condemned and where bullies are demonized. However, for others, it will be idealistic. And ultimately, this idealism will represent hope. A hope for change, a hope for positiveness, a hope for a more cooperative future.
So on this day, clad in pink, make a stand against bullying, but more importantly, let your idealism and your hope for the future show.